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Dedicated people keep things rocking after 150 years

Let me go ahead and apologize now. To all newspaper carriers of The Tribune, I apologize. I'm sorry we made your Sunday morning burden so great. Today is the day Profile 2005 hits the streets.

At more than 114 pages, this newspaper is the biggest edition in years - maybe ever in the more than 150 years of this newspaper's existence. That's an amazing stat. This place has been doing its best to inform and entertain its readers since before the Civil War.

The awe of this struck me last week after The Tribune's delivery van gave up the ghost as one might say. And as we were filling out the paperwork to purchase a new van, the gentleman said, "When was your business established?"

I thought for a second and said, "August of 1850."

The flabbergasted man said, "That's amazing."

And it is amazing. Thanks to a kind reader, Betty Lutz, we're able to share a little bit of our own history – a comparison of then and now, really – along with dozens of other stories and photographs of the area, then and now in our annual Profile edition.

The fact that our small, dedicated staff can produce such a section is an amazing accomplishment.

Each one of our team members deserves my thanks for helping make Profile 2005 such as success.

The entire process of building Profile begins months before it is ever published. Our advertising staff begins working with local businesses on helping market their goods and services well before Thanksgiving.

Sales representatives, Chad Bellomy, Gina Milum, Shawn Randolph and Harry Thompson get cracking early on in the process. Advertising director Dave Evans works with his staff and the graphic artists, Kelli Jameson and Kandi Thompson, and classified sales representatives Bonita Creger and Shirley Justice to keep all of the plates spinning.

Each one of them has done an amazing job this year.

No one would want to advertise in the section without the lure of all of those great stories and photographs that appear on the pages. And our newsroom has been working fast and furiously to gather all of that information and package it for our readers.

Reporters Teresa Moore and Justin McElroy, photographer Jessica St. James, news clerk Debbie Smathers, former reporter Beth Davis, former intern Christy Lilly and freelance writer Tammie Hetzer- Womack have worked many hours to help paint the picture of life in the area. This year, our hall of famer, sports writing legend Jim Walker helped out by providing a look at one of the area's most legendary teams - the Waterloo Wonders.

Managing editor Mike Caldwell coordinated the newsroom work and put it all together. By this point, I expect Mike's new bride is prepared to kill either him or me, or maybe both, after the many hours he's put in to make Profile 2005 so good.

But then again, all the ads and all the stories mean nothing until the ink hits the paper. And we've got some great folks helping us do that, too. Pressmen Marty Fraley and Michael Faulkner keep things going in the pressroom under the watchful eye of perennial West Virginia fan and production manager Henry "Bo" Elliott. Bo's easygoing way and knowledge of the printing process never ceases to amaze me - and the rest of the staff.

So we've got all of these sections printed with lots of stories and lots of photographs. Now what?

That's when we call in the big guns. All of these stacks of newspapers, sales fliers and grocery store ads all come together in the mailroom. Keeping things straight and organized there are Gary Cochran, Ida Cox and Carla Dalton. They are the glue that helps keep it all together. Without them the papers would just be a big pile fit only for the recycler.

So now we have these big, thick newspapers, chock full of stories, photographs and advertising messages, but it's still not done yet.

Our circulation staff has to help organize things so that the right amount of newspapers go to the right places. That's where clerks Debbie Milem and LaDonna Anderson come into play. The pair, along with home delivery manager Richard Duvendeck III, make sure the thousands and thousands of newspapers all get distributed in the right placed.

And, while those three folks are top notch, they aren't nearly fast enough to be able to deliver a few thousand newspapers each by themselves.

That's where our devoted carriers come into play. Each carrier runs his or her own business on each route that they deliver.

A handful of carriers have been delivering for us for decades. And, hopefully, if everything went right, you received the "thud" of this morning's delivery on time.

And we hope we can continue for another 150 years. If our group of employees and carriers were any indication, I'd say it's a pretty good bet.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com.